The official website of Noelle Richman, the baby formerly known as Tuffy

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Democrat in the Making

In her second week--which seems ages ago--Noe developed a problem with clogged tear ducts. Her eyes would constantly goo up with a yellowish mucus. Noe didn't much care, but it worried her parents, who thought we'd somehow failed to protect our daughter from infection in her first days of life.

Fortunately, I know a good ophthalmologist. He assured us the condition was quite common in babies and prescribed some antibiotic eye drops to unclog the ducts. It worked.

But the problem returned this week, most likely, I suspect, because we stopped using the drops too soon. So I've been putting the drops in again four times a day.

Now I know from personal experience that Tobramycin drops sting. It's not the cool, refreshing feeling you get from Visine. It's more akin, I suspect, to decanting a nice white wine vinaigrette into your eye.

Which brings me to my problem. I don't want to be the bad guy. Everytime someone is standing over Noe instigating this unpleasant experience, that someone is me. It's my face she associates with pain and sting. It's me that makes her wince or scream.

That sucks. And I'm sure when she's three or four years old and goes through her "I hate you!" stage, I'll think back to the eye drops.

But all is not lost! As it happens, I hit on a brilliant solution this morning while walking Ooja in Hickory Hill Park. From now on, whenever I need to put the drops in her eyes, I'll just wear my George W. Bush mask. It won't be daddy inflicting discomfort any longer. Nope, W will be the man responsible for my daughter's displeasure.

In fact, I've decided that there's really no reason to limit this strategy to eye drops. All unpleasant aspects of parenthood will henceforth be carried out by W. When Noe gets her first shots next month at the pediatrician, do you think daddy will be standing there in the room with her? Hell, no! When she makes the transition from months of delicious breast milk to strained peas, will daddy be the one with the spoon in his hand? Nope.

Early bedtime? Bad-tasting medicine? Rectal thermometer? W. W. W.

It may be daddy who takes her to the playground or to the Iowa Children's Museum in a year or two, but you can bet it ain't gonna be daddy that will be there when it's time to leave.

So for the first time since the 2000 presidential election--actually, for the first time ever--let me just say, "Thank you, George Bush. Thank you for helping me raise my daughter to love her daddy."

And if Noe happens to vote for a Dem in November 2024, well, all the better.


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